It was always the piano for Dimitrije Vasiljevic. As a child of 5 in Serbia, his mother took him for lessons and fate took care of the rest. Raised in the Russian system of classical training, Dimi found the piano expansive enough to satisfy his desire for playing and composing. Discovering Jazz as a teen, he did his time playing in the Belgrade Dixieland Orchestra building the foundation from the original Jazz source. Soon he was enrolled at Berklee, and if there was any turning back it was then most certainly too late. Jazz (with a capital J) had its hold on him, and turning back was futile.
‘Dimitrije’s music occupies a unique space, somewhere between the classical tradition and Jazz’ (Chris Potter)
Stay tuned for more about Dimitrije Vasiljevich Quintet. Accidental Nomad is available for Preorder on Friday 4/20.
Paul Beaubrun grew up immersed in music; his family formed Boukman Eksperyans, a mizik rasin band from Port-au-Prince. The band name is derived from Dutty Boukman, who is credited as the starting point for the Haitian Revolution in 1791, and from the English word ‘Experience’, which is a direct reference to Jimi Hendrix. The family was forever tied to the political upheaval in Haiti, and though they were forced in exile and subsequently returned to Haiti, they ultimately evolved to find a non-partisan stance that reflected the people, rather than a political ideology or leader.
As a teen, Paul was playing ball in Port-au-Prince and heard his mother on the radio, calling out to warn him of danger at their door. With the help of a friend he fled and made his way to New York. Here he honed his craft, but most importantly he carried his Haitian perspective forward – eager to learn, fascinated by the city swirling around him, Paul stepped forward with positive energy and embraced all things.
The movement of Africans to the western hemisphere was forced, and the music was often removed from the people. But the spirit was never lost, and soon the music was advancing the path – from Haiti to New Orleans, from New Orleans to Chicago and New York, from the US to London - African influences spread and mixed with local culture to create new forms and genres. Over time the power of this force revealed itself in new ways as these genres circled back to the islands and again formed new styles: Reggae and Mizik Rasin. Like Reggae, mizik rasin is old culture blended with new, imported sound. As the blues hit Haiti in the form of Rock music, Boukman Eksperyans advanced this new, blended sound. And now, Paul Beaubrun brings his perspective and carries the music back out to the world with ease – collaborating at every turn to learn new things, but also to connect through love and music. His positive view of humanity as a shining light is infectious, we all know it to be true despite the pain of history. We all need to believe, and Paul is a great ambassador of our hopes and dreams.
And so the music moves from the source to the people - the music is the language of natural human condition channeled to those who have a distorted view, to save them from their misconceptions. The greatest messengers know that they are simply messengers - unlike western idolization of talent - they realize the source is within them and without, and they seek the source and cast their particular style to translate the message for the masses.
Paul Beaubrun knows these things - he seeks to conquer the world with gentleness, with music. There is little need to dissect the message or the music - it is simple and it is indisputable. This is a human carrying the message of peace and beauty. The best way to describe this wondrous process is with the word Blessings – which is naturally the title of Paul’s album - Ayibobo
It is with the utmost respect and honor that we welcome a new record label to the Ropeadope family: Uprising Music is a new model label and artist management company that carries forward the pioneering spirit of Mr. Eddie Palmieri. Uprising Music seeks to cross cultural boundaries and blend styles as a bridge between communities from diverse backgrounds; transmitting traditions through generational evolution. Uprising’s artists come from diverse backgrounds, deeply rooted in the musical culture of the Caribbean and New York City. Urban sounds including jazz, hip-hop, funk and Afro-Caribbean genres are key ingredients in the DNA of these artists, and one can expect recordings and live performances to reflect that diversity, while pushing forward to new collaborations and styles. The Uprising Music team includes Eddie Palmieri II, Zoilo R. Torres, and Frank Abenante.
The first release from Uprising will be the new album from the vibrant Flamenco and Jazz pianist Alex Conde. Titled Origins, the album clearly embodies the mission of Uprising, and includes members of the family including Conrad Herwig, Marcus Gilmore, Dayna Stephens, Brian Lynch, Luques Curtis, Ismael Fernandez and Guillermo Barron among others. Preorders start tomorrow, with the release date set for May 11, 2018.
Born in Roanoke Virginia, Christina Marie Gleixner is an artist with a curious mind. It would seem simple: grow up with a passion for music, go to school and follow in the footsteps of thousands by writing and performing the music of the day. And yet that’s not the path that Christina took. Upon hearing a track from late Turkish singer Tanju Okan, Christina was so taken with the music that she decided she would sing in Turkish. The lyrics spoke of being so drunk one would forget that their love ever existed, and somehow it unlocked a strong creative space.
‘it (the music) felt very familiar to me, but I also felt that I could access a part of myself that was unfamiliar and magical, something that could be new and challenging. I wanted to be able to interpret my emotions through a new lens’
And so a vision was formed. With a love of Western folk and pop music, and a nostalgic eye on the musical history of Turkey, Christina Marie set out on a singular mission. Something only she could see, brought to fruition through hard work and collaboration. Christina began learning the language and writing the lyrics as poetry, building the songs around the words. The result is the self-titled album from Yeni Nostalji: a beautiful and sublime blend of cultures and sounds. One could call this world music, but that label would not support the full vision. This is best experienced by simply listening. Christina’s vocals are as thoughtful as the project itself – like deep water on a dark night, and the band fills in behind her in careful precision, complete with polished decoration of sound.
Bandleader Christina Marie cites her songwriting influences as “Leonard Cohen, Morrissey, and Dolly Parton” but is heavily influenced by the vintage soundscape of Turkish and European pop radio from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. The band features Moldovan-born guitarist and composer Vlad Cuiujuclu, guitarist and arranger Gary Kalar, and Turkish rhythm section Ayça Kartari (bass) and Emre Kartari (drums). Yeni Nostalji’s sound is often described as a mashup of 60’s French pop, Bossa Nova, and modern indie pop ballads.
Guitarist, composer, arranger and producer Chance Hayden has worked with many including Darrell Grant, Farnell Newton, Andy Stokes, Lindsey Webster, Maimouna Youssef and Mycle Wastman. He has attracted international attention touring with Jarrod Lawson, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Japan’s Billboard Live and an exclusive birthday celebration for Stevie Wonder. His music has been chosen for the BET television series Being Mary Jane and Sony Pictures #1 box office film The Perfect Guy. Hayden is the producer of The Peace House Sessions, an ongoing video series featuring the likes of Mark Lettieri and Liz Warfield. And now, Chance brings his new album, get somethin', via Atlanta Records. dig in and get somethin' hip.
From Naples Italy, Vocalist and composer Laura Taglialatella began performing in church, influenced by Black music and intent on experiencing the world. Her path took her to University (and private study with Jazz masters), where she developed her thesis - A Unifying Language: Jazz. Laura's debut album - The Glow - show Laura in the process of self acknowledgement, while exploring the space between genres and the spontaneous interactions that ensue. The Glow was recorded in two days, and features Dayna Stephens on Ewi and tenor Sax, Domenica Sanna on Piano and Rhodes, Matteo Bortone on Bass, Francesco Ciniglio on Drums, and a special guest appearance from Logan Richardson on Alto Sax. Expect a subtle flow, with introspective style and sometimes carefully punctuated vocals in both English and Italian. Order The Glow via Atlanta Records at this link.
What happens when two kindred souls connect while carefully considering their place on Earth and creating music that speaks to their personal story? ART. Richard X Bennett reflects on life and its counterpart on his new album Away From The Many, and while the music is a way of reaching out to the world, Richard took it further by connecting with Aaron Dolton of HUW. The result is the beginning of a new musical journey, and we are proud to present the first track today - Transparent Frame Remix - a meditation on our situation and our salvation that leaves you feeling the full motion of our spinning globe.
We have a developing connection with our musical familia in Italy, starting with the 2016 release of Fun Slow Ride, and now we have a couple of great releases coming your way. First up Dario Deidda - Salerno born double-bassist with a uniques style. Dario's newest record - My Favourite Strings - debuted at #1 on the Itunes Jazz charts, and now we are proud to bring it to the world! As the title cleverly suggests the album follows tradition in paying homage to the greats and the American Songbook. My Favourite Strings was produced by Gegè Telesforo and features Gegè on percussion and vocals. Beautiful interplay between two great lovers of Jazz, in pure and creative form.
From Washington Heights to Lincoln Center - that is how you do it. And that's just what Lakecia Benjamin did, using her Saxophone as a tool for growth. She's traveled the world as an ambassador - not just for Jazz but for Women of Color - and held her head high as a bandleader. Benjamin has played with the best, from Stevie Wonder to Clark Terry, and now she is ready to release her latest work - Rise Up - to the world. Featuring a solid band and special guests Maurice Brown, China Moses, and more, Rise Up is a powerful statement both in Jazz and on the current state of our culture. The title track - March On - starts with the quote ' You can either live your dream, or live your fears', and that sums it up right out of the gate. Dig.
In 20 years Stephanie McKay has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Anthony Hamilton, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), Talib Kweli, DJ Spinna, Toshi Reagon and many more. Her voice is distinct and utterly soulful: her Ropeadope debut was on the Light Blue Movers release Atlas - and now Stephanie returns with a carefully crafted project on Modern Icon Recordings. Five tracks of longing and uplifting vocals, paired with the funky and intricate playing and production of Adrian Harpham. Titled Song In My Heart, the project brings out Stephanie's true essence and power, the result of a true artist and great producer digging deep to create a lasting document. Song In My Heart will be released on June 15th - stay tuned for details.
Middle Blue was conceived by guitarist Brad Farberman - something funky, with tunes, a tight band but open to personnel changes. Start with a bass (Danny Tambarelli) and a bari sax (Dave Sewelson), book a show at a magical music room (Troost), and everything will fall into place. And well it did, with a monthly gig, additions to the band, and a recording to top it off. Keyboardist Jared Pauley, Ropeadope alum Jeremy Danneman on Alto, Jessica Lurie on Tenor and flute, and the funkiest living drummer - Mike Clark - were soon on the roster and in the studio. The result is LOVE CHORDS, hitting the streamwaves today on all the places where music is found.
The time has come! AJ Ghent, heir in the lineage of sacred steel, communicator of love and groove, is all geared up for release day. The Neo-Blues Project is six tracks of electric blues that will knock you back and stand you up to dance at the same time. It's that feeling when the music takes control of your senses and you just don't care. It's that common feeling that we all share, it's music at its most fundamental core. AJ uses a variety of guitars - pedal steel, slide, resonator - and all the rest of the instrumentation himself.
This is the new blues for a new generation. Let's Go!
From the great city of Omaha Nebraska, Dana Murray is a drummer, producer, and a new kind of educator. He grew up watching the greats play in North Omaha, and he knew he'd better get his chops if he wanted to be in that company. And yet instead of a drummer's record, Dana brings us Negro Manifesto, an album of music with a purpose that evokes thoughts of many, from Gil-Scott Heron to Hip-Hop activists The Goats, from Coltrane to Philip Glass. Negro Manifesto is a reflection on our world from a man who is comfortable in all scenarios, and it is intended to bring dialogue around the subject of social justice. Dana will be touring - playing music and holding panel discussions on race, gender, and community throughout 2018. Stay tuned for previews of the album, recorded commentary from Dana, and a continued discussion to help us learn and heal.
After two acclaimed releases in 2017, Experiments With Truth and What Is Now?, the ever creative Richard X Bennett returns this spring with a solemn reflection on life, death and the transformation of suffering into beauty. Away From The Many finds Bennett in a solo space, gently playing for an audience of one. This is a record for those times you find yourself alone, though it is also perfect for setting a quiet tone among friends in our all too frenetic world. Away From The Many includes two remixes from a piano player from another layer: Aaron Dolton joins Mr. Bennett in expression that more than matches the mood. The album is cued up for release on April 20 with Preorder on March 23.
Remember that name (Use the trick - Lick Ten Burgers), and you're able to discuss genius while cradling your choice of adult mind-calming substance. Every now and then an artist comes along that leaves you scrambling for comparisons - from Weird Al to TMBG, Les Claypool to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Beck to Randy Newman. Chuck Lichtenberger is able to get outside of the usual frame of reference, and beckons for us to do the same. We're lovers of art that stretches our thinking, and Chuck delivers - all the while with sublime performance on piano, a dedicated and skilled band, and the vision of Jonathan Scales in the producer chair. Ladies, Gentlemen, Visitors, molecular fusion vehicles - we bring you 'This Is What Happens When...' , set for release on Friday, April 13th. A beautiful dedication to life on a spinning ball lost in a mass of stars and whatnot. Take your time, enjoy the ride.
We are eternally grateful for the creative energy that Robert Sput Searight puts into the world, and we are honored by his presence here at Ropeadope and with his label RSVP Records. yet it is his collaborative work with Percussionist Nate Werth that intrigues us beyond all. Ghost-Note is their project together, and it begins with two drummers finding a rhythm on stage and in life. Unique in history, Ghost-Note builds from this core with no specific destination, and expands outward - adding melody and accents as it adds serious players who bring new flavor to the band. It is a fascinating process, and it is moving forward with accelerating power. What does that mean? It means that the next Ghost-Note record is a powerhouse of musical exploration that eclipses their debut, with a core band of Anthony ‘AJ’ Brown, Sylvester Uzoma Onyejiaka II (Sly 5th Ave), Dywane “MonoNeon” Thomas Jr, Jonathan Mones, Michael Jelani Brooks, and Xavier Taplin - and a dizzying array of guests including Kamasi Washington, Karl Denson, Raja Kassis, Prudence the Auset Sneed, Brandon ‘Taz’ Neiderauer, Nigel Hall, Bob Lanzetti, Alvin Ford Jr, Jay Jennings, Nick Werth, Bobby Ray Sparks, Phil Lassiter, and Michael Palmer. There's plenty more to say, but we'll just let that sink in for a moment. Drop in here for the title track.
A stage name that became real. John L Nelson was a Jazz musician hailing from Louisiana who put down roots in Minneapolis. Raising a family kept him busy as he held down a day job, yet all the while he was composing music and teaching his children the importance of melody. Later he would start a second family, and his son Prince would take the world by storm. John L Nelson's compositions were never recorded - until now. His eldest daughter Sharon assembled a band at Paisley Park - coincidentally with John's nephew Louis Hayes behind the kit and leading the band. They set down tracks for the purpose of history and to honor the man who gave us Prince. The melodies are sublime, with intricate balance and a sense of old and new fused in a seemingly effortless fashion. Drop in and listen to the beautiful music of John L. Nelson as we prepare for worldwide release on Friday March 2.